Challenges and response strategies of tour firms in Kenya to government regulations in the tourism industry
With the tourism sector being important to the Kenya economy, sustainability in the industry is important to enable competitiveness and therefore the government has been able to come up with regulations to ensure that tourism sustainability is achieved. The research objectives with regards to the gaps identified from previous studies were to determine the challenges and strategic responses by tour firms in Kenya from government regulations in the tourism industry. Research questions were formulated from the research objectives in order to enable collection of data. Literature review was done by analyzing the theories relevant to the studies and empirical studies done. From the literature, government regulation challenges that were identified were licensing regulations, tourist vehicle regulations, boating activities regulations, and environmental regulations. Primary data was collected using questionnaire which had questions formulated from the four regulation challenges. The questionnaires were sent to the target population of tour guides whose number was identified to be 397 in total. A sample size of 132 tour firms was calculated and questionnaires sent to them. From the tour firms sampled, 94 were able to respond and provide information relevant to the study. Data analysis was done using descriptive analysis and the results presented in tables. From the study results, it was seen that tourist vehicle regulations was the biggest challenge to tour operators, followed by licensing regulations both being challenges to a great extent. Boating activities regulations and environmental regulations were challenges to a little extent to tour operators in the country. The strategic responses by tour operators as a result of challenges experienced included proper maintenance of tour vehicles, early application of operating license, and ensuring human resource is adequately qualified and trained being used to a very great extent. The study recommended that proper policies and legislations need to be implemented in the tourism sector by both the government and the tour operators association. Also the study recommended that proper infrastructure needs to be put in place and marketing to improve the sector which is necessary for the economic growth. Finally, the study suggested that more research should be done in the tourism sector including other factors which affects tourism industry and were not analyzed by the study.